Squarespace vs WordPress (CMS)

Squarespace and WordPress are those web design platforms I recommend to everyone looking for a quality tool to get started with a personal/business website. This is no wonder as the systems are extensively used to create all types of web projects without any deep coding proficiency (WordPress still requires baseline programming knowledge, though).

On the one hand, Squarespace works great for newbies due to its simplicity, availability of contemporary designs and affordable pricing, which is also fixed, by the way. On the other hand, it does not allow for multiple integrations as compared to its competitor.

WordPress, in its turn, excels at integrations as this is one of its strongest points. However, it can’t boast the availability of built-in tools and it also requires skills to get started.

As you see, both systems have their pros and cons and they really differ from each other in terms of customizability, integrated functionality, SEO and availability of third-party extensions. To decide which software works best for your individual needs, I have prepared this unbiased comparison of platforms. Hopefully, it will be useful for beginners and web design pros alike. Let’s get started.

Quick Summary

Squarespace stands out as an accessible and streamlined web building platform, perfect for individuals and small businesses alike. It empowers users to create attractive websites without the hassle of managing separate hosting or worrying about security updates. Offering integrated features like eCommerce, blogging, quality design customization tools and integrations, the website builder proves to be an excellent solution for those who want to focus on content rather than intricate website management issues.

Squarespace Dashboard

WordPress, on the contrary, shines as a versatile and robust content management system that covers the needs of all types of users – from bloggers to established businesses. With its self-hosted option, the CMS grants unparalleled flexibility, enabling its subscribers to harness an extensive library of plugins and themes to mold their web projects with regard to their specific requirements. This flexibility, however, requires a slight learning curve and active ongoing maintenance to keep the project secure and up to date.

WordPress Dashboard

Both Squarespace and WordPress are quality web building tools. Squarespace is a more beginner-focused platform, while WordPress is a more complex option to set up and manage large projects. It also requires programming knowledge.

Price

Squarespace makes it possible to test the system for 14 days at no cost. After that, you will have to upgrade to one of its premium subscriptions, namely:

Squarespace Pricing

  • Personal ($16/mo billed annually) – free custom domain, 24/7 customer support, SSL Security, 2 contributors,30 minutes of video storage, unlimited bandwidth and storage, SEO features, website metrics, Squarespace extensions etc.;
  • Business ($23/mo billed annually) – unlimited contributors, professional email from Google, 3% transaction fees, premium blocks and integrations, CSS/JavaScript design customization, advanced website analytics, fully-integrated eCommerce etc.;
  • Basic Commerce ($27/mo billed annually) – advanced built-in eCommerce analytics, customer accounts, 0% transaction fees, Instagram synchronization, domain checkout feature etc.;
  • Advanced Commerce ($49/mo billed annually) – abandoned shopping cart recovery, advanced shipping and discounts, limited availability labels, APIs for order and inventory, gift cards etc.

It doesn’t really matter what Squarespace plan you will pick for your project – it will come with free integrated hosting and domain name. If you already have one, the system will make it possible to transfer it to its servers from another host for free.

As for WordPress, it is completely free by default. This means that you can explore and test the system at no cost as long as needed. To set up a full-featured project, however, you will have to invest in extra plugins, hosting, domain and templates

Both systems can be explored for free, but the duration of the free trial differs. The cost of premium Squarespace plans is fixed, while that of WordPress depends on multiple factors like the price of plugins, hosting, domain etc.

Proper hosting choice, by the way, matters a lot when it comes to defining the budget of your WP project. The cost of plans offered by various hosts obviously differs. Thus, you need to pick one that comes with the most affordable rates. This is where HostGator is obviously one of the top solutions.

Hostgator

The host has a separate group of plans for WP hosting that comprises three subscriptions – Starter, Standard and Business. The most affordable one is the Starter plan, which will cost you $5.95/mo only. All plans come with free 1-year domain, advanced security features, opportunity of WP website migration and other perks to make your site hosting hassle-free and simple.

Creating a Website

Squarespace lets you start the web design process with account creation. Once logged in, you will be offered to choose from a variety of beautifully designed templates that suit your project purpose, be it a portfolio, a web store, a blog etc. These themes are fully customizable, letting you personalize colors, fonts, images and layout elements to match your brand and style.

Squarespace Website Design

When you proceed to the template customization, the system will suggest building your project by means of arranging content blocks and sections. You can effortlessly add text, images, videos, buttons and other elements, making it easy to create engaging and visually appealing web pages.

Squarespace also grants access to integrated tools for eCommerce, blogging and other purposes. If you’re looking to sell products, the platform offers built-in features for product listings, secure checkout and inventory management. For bloggers, adding and organizing posts takes a few moments only due to Squarespace’s user-friendly blogging interface.

Once your content is in place, you can preview your website to see how it will appear to visitors on various devices. This matters a lot as many users tend to browse their projects on mobile and desktop devices.

If you’re satisfied with your website design and functionality, you are welcome to connect a domain to it to make it accessible through a custom web address. Squarespace also takes care of hosting and security updates, letting you focus on creating and refining your website content.

You may take a look at my handpicked Squarespace website examples collection: portfolio, best, ecommerce, artist and photography.

Creating a website with WordPress offers a powerful and customizable journey that caters to a diverse range of website needs. To get started, you have two options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. With WordPress.com, you can create a website on a hosted platform with a simplified setup process. However, for greater control and flexibility, many opt for WordPress.org, which involves self-hosting your website. This entails obtaining a domain name and hosting plan from a provider, like HostGator and installing the WordPress software.

To set up a website with WordPress, you will also need an account. Having created one, go ahead to access the dashboard, where you will be able to manage all aspects of your project. This is where you can choose from a broad array of templates (both free and paid) as well as the set of customization tools to create a truly unique design.

The real power of WordPress actually lies in its plugin ecosystem letting you add versatile functionalities like contact forms, SEO optimization, eCommerce etc. The Gutenberg block editor simplifies content creation, making it possible to build web pages and add posts by arranging content blocks.

As you create and customize your website, the extensive community and resources surrounding WordPress come into play. Countless tutorials, forums, and guides are available to help you handle any challenges you might encounter. However, it’s essential to note that this flexibility and versatility come with a learning curve.

Mind that you will also be responsible for regular website maintenance, including updates and security measures. This also takes some effort, knowledge and time.

Squarespace and WordPress use different approaches to the website creation process. As a website builder, Squarespace is a simpler and more intuitive solution while WordPress requires deeper coding proficiency and web design background.

Interface

The Squarespace interface does not differ a lot from other interfaces DIY website builders generally come with. Upon logging in to your Squarespace account, you will see a clean and organized dashboard that serves as your control center.

The navigation menu on the left provides easy and fast access to essential areas like Pages, Design, Commerce (if any) and Settings. This layout ensures that users, regardless of their technical expertise, can navigate the platform with no special knowledge.

Squarespace Interface

The interface uses content blocks that can be easily added, rearranged and customized. These blocks encompass a wide range of elements, including text, images, videos, buttons, forms etc. Each block can be individually styled to match your branding, while the option to add custom CSS is available for those who want to delve deeper into customization.

The drag-and-drop editor of the website builder allows creating and editing the content of each web page. As you work on your project customization, a preview feature lets you see the way it will display on various devices.

Squarespace differs from its multiple niche competitors due to its Style Editor. It allows modifying your website design in various aspects – from fonts and colors to alignment and spacing. As a result, your project looks consistent across various screens.

The interface also seamlessly integrates with other Squarespace features like blogging, eCommerce, analytics, SEO settings etc. Just reach the required section to make relevant edits.

The WordPress comes as a comprehensive dashboard that empowers users to build and manage their websites with a high degree of customization. Upon logging into the WordPress dashboard, users are welcomed by a user-friendly layout that provides easy access to various sections.

The main navigation menu on the left-hand side directs users to essential areas such as Posts, Pages, Media, Plugins and Themes. This intuitive structure ensures that both beginners and experienced users can efficiently browse the platform to create and modify content.

The core of the WordPress interface is the powerful Gutenberg block editor, which has been recently introduced by the software developers. This advanced content creation tool uses a block-based approach, where each piece of content is represented as a distinct block. This includes paragraphs, images, videos, headings, buttons, and more.

WordPress Interface

Blocks can be easily moved, customized, and rearranged within the editor, granting users granular control over the layout and design of their content. To some extent, this resembles the process of website creation offered by traditional DIY website builders. The classic WordPress editor is also available for users who prefer a standard approach.

The design section makes it possible to control the visual aspects of your website via template choice and customization. The WordPress theme library offers an extensive collection of both free and premium themes, catering to a wide range of styles and purposes.

The Customizer tool within this section allows for versatile element personalization. Thus, you can personalize website identity, colors, typography, widgets and menus as required.

The Plugins section lets users extend website functionality by adding various features and integrations. Users have access to a dynamic platform that facilitates content creation, customization and expansion, making it a smart pick for bloggers, businesses, and developers.

When it comes to the interface, WordPress is definitely a more complex solution. This is no wonder as there are many issues to be explored and handled here. Squarespace offers a traditional website design approach and a simple interface most users will be able to browse and master.

Templates and Website Design

Squarespace templates are quality and modern, although you won’t find many of them in the software collection. Currently, you can choose from around 100 designs divided into niche categories. All of them come with features and elements relevant to their initial implication.

Squarespace Templates

The website builder differs from its multiple competitors due to its integrated Style Editor and Cover Page Builder that allow for deep project customization. When working on their websites, users may fine-tune the selected elements, such as styles, buttons, spacing, image overlays etc. This is what the Style Editor lets them do. Such control level guarantees that each website set up with the system remains consistent and unique, even if different templates are chosen for their creation.

The Cover Page Builder, in its turn, offers around 30 pre-designed themes you can use and customize as required. Just reach the drag-and-drop editor to properly modify and place elements on a web page.

With Squarespace, you can switch between the templates as often as required. The submitted content won’t be lost. To see whether you have coped with your website creation properly, go ahead to use the live preview feature. You can edit the project as many times as you need to finally publish it.

WordPress serves as the foundation for the overall look and layout of your website. They determine everything from color schemes and typography to the arrangement of content elements.

With a plethora of both free and premium themes available both in the software catalog and on the web, users can select the one that aligns with their brand identity and design preferences. Once a theme is chosen, customization comes into play to ensure that the website stands out while maintaining a cohesive design language.

WordPress Themes

The WordPress Customizer provides a user-friendly interface where you can easily adjust colors, fonts, header and footer layouts etc. Additionally, page builders (Editor plugins) like Elementor or Divi make it possible for users to create complex page layouts through intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces, letting code-proficient users design professional-looking web pages.

Squarespace and WordPress offer quite different approaches to template selection and customization. As a website builder, Squarespace has a collection of pre-designed templates, the number of which is somewhat limited as compared to WordPress. The CMS grant access to hundreds of free and paid themes, customization of which is much more complex and requires programming knowledge.

SEO

Squarespace can be considered a SEO-friendly website builder that makes it possible to optimize your project for better search engine rankings without extensive coding knowledge.

Squarespace SEO

Within Squarespace’s settings, users can access a range of SEO tools available in the dashboard. These include options for page title optimization, creation of meta descriptions and URL structures. This plays a crucial role in conveying web page relevance to search engines and potential visitors.

The website builder automatically generates XML sitemaps, which contributes to more effective crawling of the search engines and indexing the website content.

Dream of deeper SEO with Squarespace? Then pay special attention to content creation and optimization. By regularly publishing high-quality and relevant content like blog posts or product descriptions, you can attract organic traffic and engage visitors. This will certainly have a positive impact on search engine optimization.

Squarespace also offers tools to optimize images, which helps improve website performance and load times.

WordPress, a widely used content management system, offers robust capabilities for search engine optimization (SEO), allowing website owners to enhance their online visibility and improve search engine rankings. With its vast array of plugins and built-in features, WordPress provides users with the tools needed to optimize their websites for search engines.

WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO is more complicated, indeed. As a CMS, it makes it possible to optimize your project for the search engines by means of integration of special SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack. These are the two most popular ones, by the way.

The plugins make it possible to easily customize the major on-page SEO elements like meta titles, meta descriptions and URLs for individual web pages and posts. They also offer real-time analysis and suggestions to improve content readability, keyword usage and other factors that contribute to better search engine rankings.

Additionally, WordPress themes frequently come with optimized code and responsive designs. These are also crucial factors for SEO success.

In terms of SEO, Squarespace is also on the top of the list. There is no need to integrate external plugins to adjust your website SEO parameters. Just use the built-in tools to set up the required characteristics. The situation is quite the opposite with WordPress as it realizes its SEO capabilities via third-party plugin integration.

Publishing a Website

Squarespace offers a standard approach to website creation and publishing – like the one offered by most DIY website builders. To get started, you’ll need to sign up for a separate account and select a template that suits your project purpose better.

Once the template is selected, the Squarespace editor will redirect you to the drag-and-drop interface for layout, design and content optimization. Users can easily add and manage texts, images, videos and other multimedia elements, while previewing their changes in the real-time mode.

The pre-built content blocks make it easy to structure pages, create navigation menus, integrate other essential features like contact forms and social media links.

As soon as you are done with design and content customization, you will need to connect an existing domain name or register a new one through Squarespace. Finally, publish the project with a single click to make it live.

Squarespace also provides hosting services, ensuring that the website remains secure and available online.

Publishing a website with WordPress offers individuals and businesses a versatile and powerful platform to establish their online presence. The process involves several steps, from selecting a domain name to customizing the website’s design and content.

To publish a website with WordPress, you will initially need a domain name and hosting. What’s important, many contemporary hosting providers offer one-click WP installation. HostGator, for instance, has a separate WordPress hosting package that includes several plans to choose from. This is a kind of a ready-to-go solution that makes setting up and managing WordPress sites easy and quick.

HostGator has a hassle-free control panel where you can set up auto-backup and account management features, access 1-click restore option and other must-have tools for quality management of your WP website. Advanced site security tools, up to 99.9% uptime, 24/7/365 support, high page load speed, free domain for 1 year, affordable pricing – these are only a few features that speak in favor of choosing HostGator as a reliable WordPress hosting provider.

As soon as the CMS is installed (this is free, by the way), users may proceed to template selection and customization.

The WordPress design repository includes a vast array of options, both free and premium, catering to various design preferences. Having picked a theme, users can further customize it with the WordPress Customizer or a page builder plugin (like Elementor or Beaver Builder). These tools allow for easy layout, font, color and style modifications.

When you proceed to the content creation, WordPress offers an opportunity to publish two types of content – posts and pages. Posts are ideal for creating a dynamic blog, while pages are best suited for static content like About Us, Contact and Services pages.

Users can effortlessly add text, images, videos and other media elements to their content. By the way, plugins can also enhance the functionality of WordPress websites by adding features like contact forms, SEO optimization, eCommerce etc.

Once the website is appropriately configured, you can hit the “Publish” button to make it accessible online. Make sure to regularly update the content to make it relevant to your project niche and interests of the target audience.

It’s not quite difficult to publish a website with Squarespace and WordPress. The approaches differ yet the result is achieved quite easily. With Squarespace, you won’t need to look for a host and domain as they are available in all plans by default here. WordPress implies the need for plugin installation as well as hosting/domain choice. This makes its use somewhat more complicated for everyone.

Online Store

Squarespace seamlessly blends powerful eCommerce capabilities with an emphasis on design and convenient user experience. There is no need to integrate an eCommerce extension here – the built-in eCommerce platform is available here by default.

There is also a separate collection of eCommerce templates that are specifically tailored for web store creation needs, making sure your products are showcased in an attractive and user-friendly way. From fashion to electronics, these themes cater to a wide array of industries, helping you create a small/medium store that perfectly aligns with your brand identity.

Adding and managing products, categorizing items, setting up payment gateways and configuring shipping options are only a few intuitive tasks that can be completed within the platform. Its integration with popular payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal ensures secure transactions and diversifies users’ choice.

Squarespace Store

Other popular eCommerce features offered by Squarespace include appointment scheduling, online calendars, opportunity to embed Google maps, share company updates via social channels, send mailing lists and integrate online forms for more effective customer interaction.

Squarespace eCommerce subscriptions all come with high end yet necessary features like abandoned cart recovery, discount code creation and gift card support.

WordPress doesn’t offer eCommerce functionality by default. To set up a web store, you will have to integrate an eCommerce plugin. WooCommerce is the most popular and feature-rich solution that transforms your WP website into a full-featured web store.

WooCommerce offers a broad range of extensions and themes that cater to different business models, from physical products to digital downloads and subscriptions.

The CMS actually provides a high degree of control over your web store’s functionality and design. With access to thousands of themes and plugins, you can customize every aspect of your online shop – from the layout and color scheme to the checkout process and payment gateways. This also extends to SEO optimization, letting you implement innovative SEO practices and make the products easily discoverable by the search engines.

WordPress also offers multiple free and premium templates and plugins for web store creation beyond WooCommerce. The software allows integrating email marketing tools, analytics and stats tracking platforms, social media buttons etc. to create a comprehensive online selling platform.

Again, Squarespace is a simpler solution for web store creation than WordPress. This is explained by the nature of the system and its simplicity for subscribers. While Squarespace comes with the built-in eCommerce engine, WordPress requires integration of WooCommerce (or any other) plugin. Further web store management also depends on plugin integration, which is also a challenge for many users.

Blog

Squarespace has a built-in blogging engine. As a result, you can set up, manage, customize and promote personal or business blogs.

Squarespace Blog

One of the standout features here is the collection of beautifully designed templates optimized for blogging. They are responsive and adaptable, ensuring that your blog looks fantastic on various devices and screen sizes.

Squarespace’s intuitive content creation tools make crafting and publishing blog posts simple and hassle-free. The platform provides a user-friendly editor where you can easily format text, add images, embed multimedia and structure your content with headings and lists.

The real-time preview mode matters a lot for bloggers who wish to maintain a consistent look across all blog posts. What you can do with Squarespace is adding and scheduling blog posts, adding user comments and geolocation tags, hosting blog podcasts etc.

Another distinctive feature of Squarespace is its blog transfer option. This means that you can move any existing blog from any other platform like WordPress or Tumblr, for example, to the system servers at no cost.

Now about WordPress CMS blogging options. It’s no secret that the software is initially a platform created for blog development. Obviously, WordPress has much to offer to its subscribers.

WordPress Edit

Mind that the range of blogging tools becomes available through plugin integration here, while the very process of premium blog creation takes much effort and time. The final result, however, is definitely worth that.

WordPress’s content creation and management capabilities are above average. The visual editor provides an intuitive interface that allows for convenient text formatting, integration of media and images, creation of engaging content with no coding knowledge required.

The built-in media library of the CMS makes blog organization and customization seamless. What’s more, the categorization and tagging approach of the software makes it possible to efficiently organize your content to make recent posts easily discoverable for readers.

When it tackles the blogging feature, I would definitely recommend using WordPress, if you are sure about your programming skills. You will certainly face the need to integrate external plugins and edit codes. Squarespace does not have such requirements, offering a simpler approach to blogging.

Third-Party Integrations

Squarespace integrations are not numerous yet you can choose those add-ons and widgets that work best for your website – either personal or business. The system has extensions for image editing and gallery creation, eCommerce tools, social media channels etc.

There is also an opportunity to connect Google analytics or choose Squarespace Metrics App here. This is a must when it comes to efficient stats tracking.

There is also access to integrable online contact forms, advanced image editor, Google Maps, Cover Page builder, extensive social media options, online calendar etc.

The Acuity Scheduling platform is another strong feature of the website builder that will especially come in handy to entrepreneurs. The feature simplifies the process of creating and scheduling online appointments without the need to integrate third-party tools.

The Unfold app is also one of the Squarespace highlights. As an advanced storytelling tool, it makes it possible to create and share stories in social networks in a matter of minutes.

Finally, the website builder has recently implemented an advanced Video Studio App. The tool helps create and share video presentations to present services/product/brand info in an appealing and impressive way.

WordPress functionality is all about integrations. There is no single feature that cannot be implemented via plugins’ application. You can find free and premium plugins for content creation, image/video optimization, anti-spam solutions, contact forms, marketing/promo campaigns etc.

WordPress Plugins

There is an official Plugin Directory of WordPress that includes thousands of free and premium apps. You can browse and search for required extensions based on categories, industries, integrated functionality, user reviews/comments/ratings etc.

It’s not quite easy to install a plugin as you may face certain code-related issues. A beginner will hardly cope with the task. Meanwhile, you won’t go without plugin use when working on your project customization.

Mind that plugin developers regularly release updates to improve plugin performance, their compatibility with the system as well as security issues. However, check the selected plugins for malware and errors. In this respect, premium (paid) plugins are more secure than free ones.

If you are ready to invest time, money and effort into the development of WP projects, then you will certainly appreciate its integrations. This, however, is not the simplest solution as you won’t go without preliminary web design skills here. Squarespace is a far easier choice everyone will be satisfied with.

Technical Support

The Squarespace Help Center provides an extensive knowledge base offering step-by-step guides, articles and FAQs that cover a wide spectrum of system-related topics.

For more personalized assistance, users can reach out to Squarespace’s customer support team. Through an email-based ticketing system, users can submit their queries or concerns to further receive individualized responses to solve their specific problems.

The community forum is another valuable asset, offering a platform for users to connect with one another, share insights, and seek advice.

Some plans also offer the convenience of live chat support, providing real-time assistance for urgent queries.

WordPress doesn’t offer official customer support to its subscribers – like the majority of other open-source platforms. When you buy a plugin or a template, creators will mostly include support in the payment, yet it’s always quite limited.

Another solution is to hire a WP developer or an agency with a support contract. This is a more costly solution, of course, but what you will get is individual assistance and trusted guidance through all the stages of the website creation process.

Anyway, multiple WordPress forums are always at your disposal. They are free and come with lots of branches that tackle all the aspects/steps of the web creation process with WordPress.

WordPress doesn’t have official customer support as opposed to Squarespace. This makes the system even more complicated for beginners.

The Winner

Squarespace and WordPress both have their strong and weak points along with peculiar features, coding expertise levels and approaches to website customization. The systems occupy high positions in their niches, being a nice pick for the completion of diverse web design tasks.

Squarespace stands out when it comes to simplicity and all-in-one website development approach. It provides an integrated environment that includes hosting, templates, design tools, and even eCommerce/blogging features. This is particularly advantageous for individuals or small businesses looking to quickly establish web presence without no coding skills required.

At the same time, though, Squarespace may have limitations in terms of advanced customization and extensibility compared to WordPress. If you don’t need powerful customizability, then Squarespace is definitely a smart choice.